The success of any product, service or idea depends on how well it is presented. You may have the most prodigious concept; it could have a colossal impact on the world – but it is completely useless until you can convince people to invest in it! On the other hand, people have managed to earn millions by selling something as ludicrous as rocks – just because they were able to present them as ‘hassle free pets’! A presentation typically lasts just a few minutes – but those few minutes are significantly more important that several years spent on research and development. Those few minutes have the power to make or break an idea.
Whether you are a sales executive trying to get better at what you do or a budding entrepreneur with revolutionary ideas to change the world; mentioned below are ten timeless tips which will enable you to deliver a knockout presentation!
1) Do your homework!
Putting a few slides together does not mean that you have done your homework. Take time to know and understand the people whom you are going to meet. Who are these people? What do they do? Which financial bracket do they belong to? What are their ambitions and priorities? What are their social beliefs? What are their interests? Make sure that you have definite answers to all these questions. If you know your audience well, you have a better chance of connecting with them.
2) Develop your skills
If you want to really make a presentation that will remain etched in the minds of people, then you must think like an artist. You have to appeal to the emotions of people. Observe stage artists, politicians, celebrities and learn from them. Pay attention to their body language, delivery and timing – try to inculcate these aspects into your presentations. If you persevere, in time you will become a phenomenal conversationalist – a quality that is most essential for making good presentations.
3) Don’t forget the basics
Always make it a point to arrive on time. If you are using any presentation equipment like powerpoints, then make sure that everything is working well. If you cannot turn up on the appointed hour – then how can you be trusted to deliver on your promises? If your equipment itself has technical faults, what does this say about your product? Little things make a huge difference in the way people perceive you.
4) Start Strong
The concept of starting slowly and building up to a grand finish is utterly deluded! You have to start strong and finish stronger! How you fare within the first two minutes of your presentation will decide whether people will even listen to you or not. If you can attract people’s attention and appeal to their curiosity, then you have a chance of striking a deal with them. However, if you fail to engage your audience, you will inevitably end up with a bunch of disinterested individuals who keep glancing at their watches after every few seconds! Maintain excellent energy right from the beginning – make eye contact and smile at people, it helps them to relax and puts them in a more receptive frame of mind.
5) Introduce the problem
This is one of the most crucial phases of your presentation. It is comparable to laying the foundation on which you can later build upon. It is imperative that you drill the problem into the minds of the people whom you are interacting with. Substantiate you thoughts with statistics and data from credible sources. However, don’t bore people with generic statements – but surprise and shock them with a series of punch lines. The key is to get people to agree that a grave problem exists and that it has adverse effects on the lives of people. You may also discuss existing solutions to the problem (if any) and their shortcomings.
6) Make your entry
A good presentation is like a story and you (or your company) are the protagonists of that story. So now that a dilemma is causing distress to society – you will emancipate people from their troubles. You have the gravitas to solve the problem effectively and permanently. Talk about the history of your company briefly – mention your activities, past achievements, collaborations and assets. Explain why your solution is better than all other existing solutions. Enlist the positive features of your proposal – demonstrate how it is cost effective, reliable etc. If you are speaking to investors, explain your marketing strategy. How do plan to achieve sales targets? What are the obstacles that you will encounter and how will you tackle them? If you are speaking to potential customers, then provide answers to the following questions – How can the product or service have a positive impact on their lives? Does it make things more convenient? How will the product transform the world? Also talk about after sales support, guarantee, reliability, discounts and so on. Overwhelm people with the advantages of your proposition – if you have established a good foundation, then you will create a solid impact at this stage.
7) Call to action
Your presentation means nothing if it does not incite people to take action. Always maintain the attitude that you are not selling just a product – you are making the world a better place and you welcome people to join the movement. End with a thought provoking question or with a sensational statement. Your presentation must feel like an intense, emotional experience – not like a boring economics class!
8) Keep it Short!
Scientific research indicates that most human beings can only concentrate for 40 minutes at most. Still, it is best not to push people to their limits – so keep your presentation between 20-30 minutes long. Also, refrain from using too many slides and ensure that the font size is large.
Most people completely ignore this aspect and as a result they end up giving mediocre presentations. Top ad-men, ministers, CEOs and public speakers practice their speeches and so should you. It might not sound like much – but try practicing before your next presentation – you will be blown away by the difference!
10) Learn from your failures
Giving a good presentation is like an art which it takes patience and dedication to master. Surely there will be a few failures along the way. However, instead of brooding over your mistakes, learn from them and never repeat them again.
Last but not the least; don’t forget to enjoy your presentations. If you enjoy them, then so will your audience!